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Articles from DIAMONDS BY TYPE - SYNTHETIC / LAB-CREATED (118 Articles)

Present and future challenges for natural coloured diamonds

ALAN BRONSTEIN and NILESH SHETH believe synthetic stones only threaten the natural diamond market if there is no disclosure or transparency.

It’s difficult to predict the future for any topic, however; it is reasonable to refer to the past as a potential guide to what may eventuate. For example, over the past 40 years there have been many technological advances in the creation of lower cost ‘substitutes’ for natural coloured diamonds.

Witness radiation treated diamonds; cubic zirconia, moissanite and now we have man-made diamonds created to challenge nature’s most unique gem creation. As each one was launched many in the industry feared how these low-cost challengers could affect the consumer’s perception and love of nature’s creation.

Ultimately, on each occasion, these fears were unwarranted as people are innately attracted to ‘The Real Thing’. The romance surrounding natural diamonds was unwavering.

Therefore, while all artificially created gem substitutes may appear to be the perfect way for consumers to purchase what they want, past trends have indicated that there has been no long-term effect on the interest and desire for the most beautiful and rare natural colour diamonds.

"These lab-grown stones were not created to compete with natural colour diamonds, rather they are created to offer a lower cost alternative for someone who desires to own something that they might otherwise find too expensive."

Today we are faced with the latest challenge – synthetic diamonds grown in factories – which simulate all the characteristics of diamonds mined from the earth. These lab-grown stones were not created to compete with natural colour diamonds, rather they are created to offer a lower cost alternative for someone who desires to own something that they might otherwise find too expensive.

All too often marketers use negativity to attract customers by presenting untrue and obsolete concepts, and the messages about man-made diamonds are no different. The trade is working very hard to make the industry more transparent and remove the, so-called, objections. All mined diamonds, including natural coloured diamonds, are a rapidly depleting resource so it’s not unusual to see these substitutes appearing on the market as alternatives to nature.

Does this mean synthetic diamonds are a threat? Only if there is no disclosure or transparency and we know there are always dishonest people and fraudsters who seek to profit by lying to the public.

This is the largest threat to our segment of the jewellery industry, however; leading international scientists and gemmologists are quickly addressing this issue. Natural diamonds have been treasured since they were first discovered in India thousands of years ago.

For the people who acquired them, coloured diamonds had magical powers and were symbols of positive dreams and concepts. To this day, we project our innermost emotions from the colours that inspire good thoughts associated with natural coloured diamonds.

Our favourite colours are metaphors for prior experiences, emotions and relationships. This personal connection cannot be replaced by synthetic substitutes. Therefore, we believe that the beauty, rarity and individuality of nature are unbreakable bonds, which is the inexplicable and subconscious desire for nature’s creation.

Quality natural diamonds have exponentially appreciated in value over the years, which is clearly evident in recent and past auction results.

The existence of the alternatives, which includes man-made diamonds, has a wonderful purpose and appeal. It provides an opportunity for consumers to afford the beauty of nature by mimicking the appearance, but not the essence, of the evolution of carbon to diamonds. This is the force that will bind mankind to always desire what is earth-born.

While there may come a time when natural colour diamonds can no longer be found in the ground, the demand for substitutes will increase because of our desire to be inspired by adornment and beauty. However, for the moment, all alternatives are just an affordable opportunity to obtain a symbol and assist in the memory of a special moment in life.

We both have confidence in the natural objects as they have, and still are, the major object of human desire. We believe that DeBeers’ main objective in launching lab-grown diamonds – via its new business Lightbox – is to create market awareness and protect consumers by disclosing the actual value of these synthetic products - which is a fraction of the cost that some wholesalers and retailers were selling them before De Beers’ move into the market.

The subsequent industry-wide price fall since the announcement has been notable and we believe prices will further drop with advancements in technology and manufacturing processes.

DeBeers and its Lightbox brand is no threat to ‘the real thing’. It simply provides consumers with a lower cost option so more people can participate in the jewellery market.

While consumer choice is important to all industries, mankind may have developed great knowledge in this re-creation process, but for us, nature is the ultimate creator of beautiful and naturally occurring coloured diamonds and gemstones.



'The Great Diamond Debate' Contents » 

Innovation vs Disruption: Spectators don't win games
Coleby Nicholson, managing editor of Jeweller
Diamonds and Youth: Millennials and Gen Z drive sales
Predicting a synthetic future
Garry Holloway, owner Holloway Diamonds
Lab-created diamond jewellery market to grow to US$15B by 2035
Paul Zimnisky, paulzimnisky.com - indepdendent analyst


Alan Bronstein and Nilesh Sheth

President • Natural Colored Diamond Industry Association Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association

Alan Bronstein is president Natural Colored Diamond Industry Association and Nilesh Sheth is president Indian Diamond and Colorstone Association.

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